'Musician Friendly' airlines.. or the lack of them!

August 31, 2016

Sadly travelling musicians continue to be the victims of an ever more automated airline industry. In days gone by airline staff would not only be respectful to professional musicians travelling with their priceless instruments but could be contacted by fone or fax and advised "Miss xxx is travelling with you today" and would, almost without exception, ensure that they were looked after .....

Today most airlines subcontract their check-in and other airport services to 3rd parties who are working for a low-cost carrier one minute and a legacy carrier the next. Some staff work under contracts that would "dismiss them instantly" if they dared show initiative or flexibility. Such is the vast majority of the airline business today.......

Today the International Federation of Musicians has published a ranking of 114 airlines, grading them Green, Amber or Red by their attitude and helpfulness to musicians on the move. 

A pitiful total of nine airlines are ranked 'Green' (including Delta and Southwest – the world’s two largest airlines). Green airlines comply with the US FAA regulation on instruments, and allow instruments in the cabin – provided they fit in a locker or under a seat (there are no specific size limitations).

British Airways and Easyjet are ranked 'Amber' while rather surprisingly Lufthansa are relegated to the ranks of the 'Red' brigade.

Maestro! fight a constant battle with a wide range of airlines to try and ensure that travelling musicians (and their priceless instruments!) are treated both with respect and common sense. Sometimes it feels like a losing battle and we hope that informative lobbying by professional bodies such as the FIM and IAMA (International Artist Manager's Association) will continue to focus airlines on this important and valuable part of their business.

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